Energy of the Union
The preparatory stage in the construction of Belarus’ first nuclear power plant is about to complete
In Favor of Nuclear Energy
Despite the obvious benefits the project is a complicated issue for Belarus. The country has faced the Chernobyl tragedy, with consequences still felt. Twenty-five years is not enough for nuclear power engineering to regain the trust of the mankind. This year’s accident at the Japanese nuclear station
Construction of the Ostrovets nuclear power plant is likely to be the biggest project of the Union State. With a nuclear power plant of its own Belarus will be able to considerably reduce the import of natural gas and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. The prime cost of the electricity the future nuclear station will generate will be 2-3 times lower than that generated by conventional cogeneration and coal-fired power plants. After the nuclear station is commissioned in 2018, Belarus will be able to fully satisfy the domestic demand for electricity and export some energy, too.
Fukushima 1 has sent another wave of nuclear phobia across the globe.
Nevertheless, economic calculations and modern practices used to run nuclear installations testify in favor of nuclear stations. At present a nuclear station represents the most powerful and most environmentally friendly source of energy that is irreplaceable for industrially developed nations, particularly those with scarce natural energy resources. It is not an accident that nuclear power engineering is used in nearly 30 countries with another 60 declaring their intent to develop the industry.
This is why the industry’s safety technologies get constantly better. After the Japanese accident the possibility of emergencies must be completely ruled out. It is a response to Europe’s appeal to curtail nuclear programs in favor of renewable energy sources. Yet specialists agree that outdated stations that cannot meet modern safety requirements (those like Fukushima 1) should be decommissioned. They should be replaced with those that use accident-free technologies.
Following these principles Russia’s top state-run corporation Rosatom has invited experts, including foreign ones, to perform stress tests on its nuclear stations. Rosatom and Belarus will work together to build the Belarusian nuclear station. The tests included hands-on examination of the stations and lab analysis of nuclear station designs. The specialists modeled all the possible emergency situations for existing and future nuclear power plants. The tests demonstrated that Russian nuclear power plants could withstand the combination of elements that Fukushima 1 could not. Nevertheless, Russia has corrected its nuclear station designs to improve their safety and take into account even the most unlikely threats.
The nuclear station design AES-2006 prepared by the Saint Petersburg-based company
The ground for the foundation pit of the first energy unit has
been prepared at the site of the future nuclear station. Its
construction will begin in spring 2012